Mascoutah High School football team honors law enforcement at ho - KMOV.com

Mascoutah High School football team honors law enforcement at homecoming game

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Mascoutah football players and coaches walked onto the field with law enforcement officers on Friday. Credit: KMOV Mascoutah football players and coaches walked onto the field with law enforcement officers on Friday. Credit: KMOV
MASCOUTAH, Ill. (KMOV.com) -

It's a story continuing to spark controversy nearly one week later-- NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem last Sunday.

The Mascoutah High School football team took a stand in a show of solidarity and patriotism during its homecoming game. 

The Mascoutah Indians were handed a loss but found joy as a result of the whole team showing unity. Before the game, each player and member of the coaching staff walked out of the locker room and onto the field with law enforcement.

The team hit the field following the beat of their own drum.

"What it means to me is showing a brotherhood, the friendship and the bond that we have," said football player Devin Wills. 

Two by two, law enforcement officers joined hands with the players and coaching staff, to show the spirit of the small Illinois town.

"You don't see a lot of small communities, as diverse as we are, with as much to offer. You throw in the military spirit and we get an incredible place. It just gives an opportunity to showcase that," said Athletic Director Scott Battas. 

School leaders and the team discussed, weeks before the Jason Shockley verdict and long before athletes decided to take a knee, how to impact their community during homecoming. 

"I think it is vital to strengthening relationships between police and community because you can't just show up when a crime is being committed," said Illinois State Trooper Calvin Dye, Jr. 

The show of solidarity continued until all stood together during the band's playing of the national anthem.

"We respect our first responders. We respect our military. This is a military town. I think it was planned a while back. It is just showing the relationship we have," said school supporter Brian Uhl. 

When it comes to what others outside Mascoutah think....

"There is no protest. What we are doing is putting our community on a platform and saying this is what we are," added Battas.

This was not the first time the football team has honored a specific profession during its homecoming game. The Mascoutah Indians have also honored others like teachers, nurses and the military. 

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